Fashion Hacks, an advice-site and publishing platform for wannabe fashion journalists, was launched by Matthew Caines on 16th September to coincide with London Fashion Week (LFW). Matthew, a freelance journalist and the co-creator and founder of Wannabe Hacks and Within Reach MagazineOnline, says the motivation to launch Fashion Hacks came from the lack of live coverage of such events. “I went to all six days of London Fashion Week back in February with an independent online style site and filed only one piece of copy for the entire week. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the inspiration or material (I was sitting in on countless shows) – it was the fact that the website wasn’t pushing any boundaries.”
Fashion Hacks aims to use the real-time reporting capabilities of social media, allowing them to bring instant news to an audience who are unable to attend LFW and who want image-heavy coverage. “We knew we wanted to live-tweet, be that via descriptions or pictures, but we also wanted to go further than your average fashion blog.” Fashion Hacks therefore used Storify to live-blog the first two days, bringing all images, interviews, links, tweets and videos in one place. They’ve also been using PicPlz to add fashionable filters to some of their images, Audioboo to immediately upload their interviews and YouTube to embed their videos, and a Facebook page is in the pipeline. Fashion Hacks will also be using Bundlr to collate the best links and resources from all six days, and are currently working with some infographics and data-presentation programmes to give an interactive-image feel to what they’re doing. Matthew says “I don’t think a show review will cut it these days – I want live tweets, images, videos and interviews, all in real time. That’s at least the basis of what we’re trying to do at London Fashion Week.”
While Fashion Hacks launched with the intention of providing live London Fashion Week coverage, Matthew wants the site to continue as a publishing platform for young wannabe journalists interested in fashion and style. Like their sister-site Wannabe Hacks, the site looks to provide useful and practical advice for all those fashion hacks trying to break the industry. “One morning it could be the coverage of a Storm watch line launch, and then that afternoon we could be writing about how young fashion journalists can use press releases effectively in their writing.” Matthew believes it’s time for the next generation of fashion, style, grooming and beauty journalists to be pushing the boundaries of their profession. “It’s not that they’re not taken seriously – they are, and the best really are respected in their fields – but I think there’s a revolution in how journalism is being done. The next generation of fashion hacks can’t miss out on it. I often hear laughs from fashion and style PR people who, when I add that I also work for the Guardian, throw their heads back and laugh: “Oh – proper journalism!”
When asked about the future of the site, Matthew admits that there’s no real long-term ‘plan’. “We’re just looking to experiment with as many new online publishing tools as possible. It’s not always about the message we’re putting out – it’s also about how we get that message out there… if it’s new and gives another dimension to the way we interact with our readers, we’ll give it a go. If we can be one of the most forward thinking fashion-journalism sites at LFW in February, I’ll be a happy bunny…”.
Check back tomorrow for a guest post from Matthew, providing insight into his experiences at London Fashion Week as well as tips and advice on pitching to Fashion Hacks.
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